African Americans and Pell Grant Student Success

About one third of all undergraduate college students in the United States receive federal Pell Grants that are reserved for low-income students. But about 55 percent of all Black students receive Pell Grants. Thus, Blacks make up a disproportionate percentage of Pell Grant recipients compared to their share of total enrollments in higher education. This, of course, is due to the fact that Black households have a median income that is 60 percent of the median income of White households and Black households posses about one tenth of the wealth of White households, on average.

The federal government spends more than $30 billion each year on the Pell Grant program. A new report from the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Third Way finds that after six years, only 49 percent of first-time, full-time Pell Grant recipients earned a bachelor’s degree at the institution where they started their college career. This is 18 percentage points lower than the graduation rate for students who did not receive Pell Grants.

Only 47 percent of higher education institutions graduated at least half of the Pell Grant students who initially enrolled. More than 200 institutions had Pell Grant student graduation rates lower than 25 percent. Of the more than 60,000 Pell Grant students initially enrolled at these institutions combined, only 9,904 of them (16 percent) graduated within six years.

The University of California System has shown considerable success in graduating Pell Grant recipients. In fact the top seven educational institutions with the highest graduation rates for Pell Grant students are all campuses of the University of California.

The full report, The Pell Divide: How Four-Year Institutions are Failing to Graduate Low- and Moderate-Income Students, may be downloaded by clicking here.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Federal Report Uncovers Lack of Faculty Diversity and Delay in Federal Discrimination Complaint Processing

In addition to a lack of diversity in higher education faculty, the report revealed a frequent delay by the Department of Education when referring discrimination complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Christopher Span Appointed Dean of Rutgers University Graduate School of Education

Dr. Span, professor of education policy, organization, and leadership at the University of Illinois, is a scholar of African American educational history. He has experience in both academic and administrative leadership positions.

Lingering Mistrust From Tuskegee Syphilis Study Connected to COVID-19 Vaccine Reluctance

African Americans who lived within 750 miles of Tuskegee, Alabama, were more reluctant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine than their White neighbors, as well as Black Americans from other United States regions. The authors attribute this finding to lingering mistrust of public health services as a result of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study which ran from the 1930s to 1972.

Clayton State University Selects Corrie Fountain to Serve as Interim Provost

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve at Clayton State in this interim capacity, and I hope that my contributions will aid in the success of its students, faculty and staff," said Dr. Fountain, currently the associate provost for faculty affairs at Georgia State University.

Featured Jobs